Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Unholy Holy Week...Nor Not

I have tried, but failed miserably.  It does not feel like Holy Week to me.  Not in the traditional sense at least.  Oh, there are holy things going on all around me in quiet, subtle ways, but there have been distractions from the Big Holy that I should be focusing on right now.  Lent was meaningful for me, even though I was not able to get the "me and God" time that I had attempted to gain.  Somehow though, God and I still managed to connect on a deeper level even without the specific, scheduled time.  Maybe I should "get it", that I am in a stage of my life right now where schedules and planning will not always stick, and see it as an opportunity to embrace spontaneity and to learn how to better recognize and use the brief interludes I can capture.

We are continuing to pray for our nephew, Jacob, and appreciate your prayers as well.  Currently, he is still on a bypass machine and an external pacemaker, and the MD's will try and wean him from the machines when they deem it appropriate.  Where is the holy in this?  It is in Angela saying yesterday on her birthday "The best birthday gift I wish for is that Jacob get better."

And she has never even met her cousin yet.

Getting stuck in Duluth to start my week may have been a less than holy experience to some, but somehow for me the Holy was there as well.  Odd, I know, maybe my expectations of what is "holy" or not remain lower than average :-)  But there was the call from our pastor who just wanted to check in and lend her moral support knowing I had left behind the responsibilities of home and hearth and might be frustrated.  There was the moment when I responded that Dominick was as good a mom as I was, and everyone would be fine without me...and both of us knew that to be true.  How much holier can you get than a marriage that blessedly and assuredly works?  A marriage where my hubby, when "stuck" an additional day with 5 kids which will have to be accommodated while he is trying to work says  to me "What can you do?  It's no big deal and this will just mean you get a break for one more day.  Lay around the hotel room and relax!" and there was no guilt for me, only peace. 

While gone Kenny was sick, and of course upon my return two more fall victim to the fever, sniffles and chills.  Josh and Olesya came home Thursday after their track practice and each headed to lay down.  Olesya sprawled on her bedroom floor and slept deeply for 3 hours, and Josh hit the couch and took a feverish, restless nap with his still beloved blankie tucked in beneath him.  (Version #4 for those who keep track of such things, and he still has a sliver of #3 he carries with it!) 

OK, so many folks might not be able to see the Holy in kids getting sick, but when this meant the cancellation of Angela's planned birthday party yesterday, I saw the Holy in her easy acceptance of it, and of the kids' rallying of insisting I make her favorite meal and a cake anyway, so we could sing to her.  We'll reschedule the party for next week, but knowing it was only the 2nd one she has ever celebrated and how she talked about it for weeks prior, her graciousness over the situation showed me a little bit of Jesus.

Prior to the arrival of the Plague...oh, I mean the bug that hit us, we all went to Target where we picked up a gift or two for Angela in anticipation of her special day.  The kids all pitched in to get her...guess what...a Super Soaker water gun.  As we were walking to the cash register Matthew stopped and grabbed something, and when we got to the check out he placed the movie "Tangled" on the counter along with the gun.  I asked him what he was doing and he shyly looked up at me and said "It's Angela's favorite movie." and I said "But the other kids can't afford to get the Super Soaker if you don't pitch in, they don't have enough between them."  he whipped out his wallet and without looking up said "I know, I am going to get her both things." as he pulls several bills out of his wallet.  With tears in my eyes, I put my arm around him and said "I think your sister is pretty lucky to have you for a brother." and again without looking at me he said "Yea, well, she's a pretty nice sister too."  The Holy was very generous that afternoon this week on a Target sales floor...

Kenny had an appointment to get braces back on his upper teeth again, and we signed a contract for yet another few thousand dollars of dental work.  Before we went, he asked me to take a couple of pictures of his teeth, so we could see how they change over the next couple of years.  He also asked me to take a photo of his lip as he is going to have a lip revision surgery sometime this summer and is anxious to see a change there.  I am quite honestly feeling some trepidation about that one unlike any of the other surgeries, because to me his smile is already so beautiful, and I worry it might not make it better but would instead take away that Kenny grin I love so much.  But looking inside his mouth it is easy to see why his speech is still unclear, and I was thankful for the opportunity to sign that financial contract so we can help our son one day speak his words clearly, words that are so often filled with insight and compassion.

There's still a fistula there (an opening) but this is SO much better than it was when he first came home, and teeth are somewhat in the right location...well...sort of.  At least he doesn't have a fully open palate, and holes in the palate that were between his lip and teeth have been closed.  He has an extra tooth that has erupted there inside the palate that is small and needs to be pulled eventually, and the orthodontist told me that there is a large tooth that is impacted way up high near his sinus cavity that will likely need to be surgically removed too, not pleasant news. 

Then Kenny and I went out to lunch, just the two of us, on a long awaited date.  I promised him a date alone with Mom if he read all the A-Z Mysteries, which he did, so this was the fulfillment of a promise.  There, sitting across the table from my 12 year old son whose tiny body is more like a 9 year old, the Holy made itself known again.  Somehow we got on the subject of what he imagined himself doing someday, what kind of business he'd like to have.  He began talking about investing in stocks now with some money and wanting to learn more about how to own a company.  Then he added he wasn't sure as he was pretty interested in "God stuff" too, but also wanted to have a business of his own someday. 

Then, from out of left field, he says "I want to make enough money so you and Dad aren't poor when you retire.  You have given up so much for us kids, and I don't want you to work when you are old.  I want you to travel and relax."  I reassured him that any decisions we had made that would effect our retirement were ones we would never regret, and that we actually might not be the kind of people to be very happy staying home all day, going to play bingo or traveling to Vegas for slot machines...hahaha!  He was very serious when he replied "I know you might like to still work some, because you and Daddy are hard workers, but I don't want you to HAVE to work, I want it to be a choice for you.  Someday, you'll see, we'll all take care of you just like you have taken care of us." 

I laughed and told him that our children were NOT our retirement plan, and he needn't worry about our future.  After all, hadn't God already taken very, very good care of us?  Couldn't we walk in that assurance in the future?  He sat there thinking that one over a bit, then responded "Well, yea, I see what you mean.  I know God will always take care of all of us, but I think God brought us together to take care of each other I would worry about my brothers or sisters too if they needed help and I'd take care of them too.  Do you think that is how God takes care of us?  By making us see we should take care of others?"  and again, the Holy made itself known.

This week is about talking a long walk with Jesus, it is about suffering for others, it is about victory over the world and death, it is about placing your needs beneath the needs of others.  Holy Week is about new life, about renewed life, about living a Jesus life.  Sure, it is about death as well, but if death is all that Holy Week symbolizes, so much is lost.  Do we focus on the cross or the empty tomb?  Do we focus on kept promises or the betrayal of others?  Are Jesus people a "glass half full" lot or are we "glass half empty" folks?

Holy Week has been an odd one for us this year, but one can find different kinds of holy around them each and every day.  As I began writing this blog post, feeling a twinge of guilt for the lack of attention we paid to the events 2000 yearrs ago, I had a thought.  Maybe we LaJoy's have been too busy living out the Holy to reflect on it this week.  And I'll bet you a million bucks, that's just the way Jesus would want it.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter, and hoping that for at least a short while this weekend we all can find the time to reflect on the Holy that is, was, and always will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My 8 yr old daughter has a cleft lip and palate. I remember when I adopted her and made her first appointment at the children's hospital, receiving a letter from them on "coping with your grief when your child is born with a cleft palate". My first thought was "what grief? I have a beautiful daughter at last!!!" It took me a few minutes to realize that her birth parents probably didn't experience that joy when they first saw her cleft.

I remember reading websites about clefts when I was waiting to bring her home, and reading one story from a mom who was sad when her daughter's lip was repaired, because she was so used to looking at and loving her daughter just the way she was born. She got used to the new lip, but still felt sad that her baby had been changed.

Elizabeth J